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Deep-brain stimulation service discussions now at ‘advanced stage’

“There is no formally agreed DBS service as yet at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust,” a Belfast Trust spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

“Patients from RoI (Republic of Ireland) and NI (Northern Ireland) requiring urgent battery replacements have been facilitated with agreement from the HSCB [Health and Social Care Board] and the HSE.

“It is not yet clear when a formal service will commence, although discussions are at an advanced stage.”

People from the South access treatment in the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital, following agreement by the HSE to fund treatment in Belfast in late 2014.

A total of six patients have to date received treatment, a Department of Health spokesperson told MI.

The DBS service was mentioned by Minister for Health Leo Varadkar at a visit to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry last month, as one example of North-South co-operation on health.

Health co-operation was one of the “unsung successes” of the Good Friday Agreement, the Minister tweeted at the time.

DBS is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and dystonia, but there is currently no programme in the Republic and patients have had to go overseas for treatment.

See feature ‘Bridge over troubled borders

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